The next stop in my meandering, years-long journey through the Warner Bros. 50 Film Collection is Lethal Weapon, a film that walks a thin line between wildly entertaining (if absurd) action movie and borderline-self-parody buddy-cop trope-fest. Man, that was a lot of hyphens.
Hindsight blurs that line, as retrospective eyes make elements that were still fresh in 1987 seem like hopeless clichés. As with any historical work or figure, I judge it in the context of the times in which it existed. As such, Lethal Weapon holds up better than one might reasonably expect.
Mel Gibson’s suicidal, manic, disheveled, chain-smoking-and-junk-food-eating Riggs has undeniable comic chemistry with Danny Glover’s by-the-book, old-school Murtaugh. We’re in Gibson’s “still clearly Australian” period, here. This is also one of those movie scenarios where Gibson is playing younger than his actual age, and Glover is playing “too-old-for-this-shit” (in reality, they’re only 10 years apart). See also Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.